Take Out the
By Kelley Robertson
Is your head trash piling up?
The term “head trash” came up during a
conversation with a colleague and he used the phrase to describe the
mental garbage that affects the performance of most sales people.
Head trash is a collection of limiting thoughts or ideas that
prevent you from taking specific action that will help you generate
better results. Here are a few examples of how head trash can affect
In a sales training workshop I conducted for a
specialty retailer, several people stated that they didn’t bother
trying to close any business before 11:00 AM because they “knew”
that everyone who came into their store before that time was just
comparing their price with one of their competitors located close
by. A sales person in a manufacturing company told me that her
customers would not pay full price for her products because a major
competitor sold similar products for less money. As a result, she
consistently offered her customers a discount even before they
asked. Another sales rep confided that he believed that the lowest
possible price was the only thing his customers wanted from him and
his company. He had held this belief for so long that nothing could
dissuade him from this line of thinking.
Head trash can affect you in different ways.
During a morning workout I caught myself thinking that I could not
complete a particular exercise and this self-limiting thought
prevented me from continuing. Yet, on most other days, I breezed
through the workout with much less strain and effort. From a sales
perspective, if you believe that a prospect will not be receptive to
a new product, idea or solution, your ability to present that idea
in a positive manner is greatly reduced. I have seen sales people
talk to customers at great length and at the end of their
conversation ask, “You don’t want to order this do you?” They have
convinced themselves even before they ask for the sale that the
customer will not be interested.
The cause of head trash varies. Extreme fatigue
from lack of sleep or illness is one common cause because your
physical well-being contributes to a less-than-optimistic outlook or
mindset. Another cause is associating with negative-minded people. I
once worked with an individual who always saw the glass as
half-empty instead of half-full and after even a brief conversation
with him, I always felt drained and pessimistic.
The most common cause of head trash is the
experience you have had with a particular task or assignment. For
example, you may be required to cold call to generate new leads and
prospect. However, if your experience with cold calling has not been
positive and you have failed to find qualified leads then picking up
the telephone will be a grind and you certainly will not enjoy
making the calls. And, when you do eventually pick up the telephone,
your tone will not convey the desired message to your prospect.
To achieve the results you deserve and are
capable of it is essential that you dump your head trash. While this
is easier said than done, applying a few techniques will help.
First, focus on what you can do. With a
positive outcome. Instead of thinking of the negative aspect of the
task, concentrate on the best possible outcome. Let’s return to the
cold calling example for a moment. If you put yourself into the
mindset that making these calls will generate new business, or at
the very least, that they will help you connect with new and
interesting people, your willingness to invest in this task will
Next, take action immediately. Most people
procrastinate when head trash invades their thinking and this
prevents them from moving forward. However, taking one step or small
action supersedes the desire to remain complacent. I believe it was
Confucius who said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a
single step.” I have learned from experience that making a difficult
telephone call eliminates the need to procrastinate and stimulates
my desire to take further action throughout the day. And, as I
continue to take action, the trash that may have collected in my
head is emptied.
It is also important to associate with
action-oriented people who support your goals and objectives. I
start the week by talking to a good friend of mine every Monday
morning. During our conversations we discuss the challenges from the
previous week and explore options and ideas. I also belong to a
Mastermind group and when we meet each month, we help each other
look for new opportunities within our respective businesses. All of
these conversations help eliminate my head trash and motivate me to
try new approaches and apply different ideas.
Take out your trash and watch the difference in
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